The player Daniel Alves —accused of rape by a 24-year-old girl in a nightclub on the night of December 30, 2022— will be tried this week in Barcelona, where the case took place and where the Brazilian has been imprisoned since January 20 2023. The sentence, however, may take a few more days.
The trial is expected to last just three days, in which 28 witnesses will be heard, in addition to the alleged victim. Daniel Alves should be heard on the first day, this Monday (5), as well as the young woman and half a dozen witnesses. Tuesday is reserved for the rest of the testimonies, and Wednesday, for the presentation of reports and conclusions from police officers and experts.
The trial will be public and filmed, with the exception of the young woman’s testimony, but journalists will not be able to record or retransmit images or audio of what happens in the court room, including the player’s interrogation.
When it is the alleged victim’s turn to narrate what he experienced, the public must leave the Barcelona Hearing room. She will be protected by a screen and will not need to face Alves. Her outlines will be pixelated, and her voice will be recorded in a distorted way to prevent her image from being revealed in the future.
The young woman’s defense and the Public Prosecutor’s Office had requested that the trial be held behind closed doors, but the judges denied the request, on the grounds that the event had “an obvious media impact that arouses the interest of the media and citizens” .
The judges prohibited, however, the disclosure or publication of information about the woman’s privacy or any data that could facilitate her identification.
In an interview with Sheet, magistrate Ignacio González Vega said that, in this type of case in Spain, there is no popular jury, in which people from outside the industry are selected to decide the defendant’s guilt. “Three judges decide. One of them will preside over the court, and the other will be the rapporteur, who will write the sentence”, said the specialist in the Penal Code and member of the group Judges for Democracy.
Although there is no date for the delivery of the sentence, González Vega estimates that it should not last more than five days, the usual practice in cases like this, although this deadline is not always met. According to him, the decision of the three judges does not need to be unanimous. If two decide on guilt and one on innocence, the majority will win.
The maximum sentence, without aggravating factors, for rape in Spain is 12 years, the time requested by the prosecution. The Brazilian’s defense lawyer, Inés Guardiola, asks for acquittal.
There are two possibilities foreseen by the Spanish Court for the sentence to be cut in half, if Alves is found guilty. The first concerns the “mitigation of reparation for damage caused”, in which the defendant deposits an amount that will be passed on to the victim after the trial.
The defense has already deposited the established amount of €150,000 (around R$800,000) in court. If Alves is found innocent, the money will return to him. For this payment, he counted on the help of Neymar and his family, as the right-back was unable to access his assets in Brazil.
The other, more complex, possibility is that he will receive a mitigating factor if it is proven that he was drunk. An article of the Spanish Penal Code states that “whoever, at the time of committing the crime, is in a state of complete intoxication due to the consumption of alcoholic beverages, toxic drugs, narcotics, psychotropic substances or other substances that produce similar effects”.
Another states that, “in the application of the penalty, in the case of intentional crimes [com intenção]judges or courts will observe the following rules: when there is only one mitigating circumstance, half the penalty provided for by law for the crime will be applied.”
Alves did not take any type of exam on the day of the alleged crime. It is possible, however, that his wife, Joana Sanz, states in a statement that the player arrived at the couple’s house drunk that night.
This could be seen as the player’s fifth version of that night. In the first, the Brazilian had stated that he did not know the woman. Afterwards, he said he went into the bathroom with her, but nothing happened. In the third, he told the court that there was only oral sex. Afterwards, he declared that there was penetration, but with consent.